HelloFresh workers in Aurora overwhelmingly reject unionization in first-of-its-kind vote

Matt Bloom/CPR News
HelloFresh workers and supporters rally outside of the company’s distribution center in Aurora on Oct. 10, 2021.

Workers for meal kit delivery company HelloFresh have voted against forming a union at its facility in Aurora. The outcome is a blow to local organizers who had hoped to form the first union in the growing meal kit delivery industry. 

Aurora workers voted almost two-to-one against organizing in an election that wrapped up Monday. The National Labor Relations Board confirmed the final vote tally was 166-to-91.

“HelloFresh workers in Aurora fell short in their vote after a long anti-union campaign,” said Kevin Abels, president of Unite Here Local 23, the Denver commercial food union that helped workers organize. “Our hearts go out to the workers who organized the union because they wanted to change the disrespect, dangerous working conditions, and pay in their workplace.”

Organizers launched the effort earlier this year to advocate for better pay and working conditions, after a palette of meal kit supplies fell from a shelf and struck several workers. One was seriously injured. 

In a statement, the company said the vote was a reflection of employees’ trust in management. 

“We are committed to fostering an open and direct dialogue with our employees and continuously look for ways to keep improving,” said Saskia Leisewitz, HelloFresh’s global lead of communications. “We thank our employees for voting and participating in this important process.” 

HelloFresh is currently the largest meal-kit delivery company in the world by delivery volume. The company purchased its Aurora facility when it acquired rival Green Chef in 2018. Since then, it has doubled its Aurora staff to roughly 400 forklift operators, chefs, and assembly line workers. 

A new 150,000 square foot facility in Colorado is in the works for 2022, which will require hundreds of new workers, Leisewitz said. She did not confirm its location. 

Abels called HelloFresh’s conduct during the union campaign “undemocratic.” He did not comment on whether workers would try again in the future. 

“HelloFresh spent thousands of dollars a day on anti-union consultants and held repeat captive audience meetings while workers were on the clock,” Abels said. “We are evaluating all options to support workers.”

A similar election at HelloFresh’s Richmond, California distribution warehouse is still taking place.